The Balearic parliament yesterday unanimously approved parts of a motion which urged an acceleration in projects financed with tourist tax revenue. The government and "beneficiary administrations" (the ultimate recipients of tourist tax funding) were called on to move ahead more swiftly, the motion having initially been directed only at the government.
The Partido Popular had tabled the motion, while an amendment by the government parties (plus Podemos) was addressed towards the beneficiary administrations alone. This provoked criticism from Miquel Jerez of the PP who reminded the government that it was responsible for transferring the revenue and promoting agreed projects. "If you (the government) does not assume responsibility for accelerating projects, then what good is the Balearic Tourism Agency (ATB)?"
Jerez suggested that it would be better for the beneficiary administrations to receive the funding directly. The ATB and the tourism ministry were "obstacles to projects".
He added that the website which reports on the management of the tax is "just a replica of the Official Bulletin". Olga Ballester of Ciudadanos took up this point by insisting that the government publishes improved data on the management of the tourist tax and accused the government of "lying to the citizens" about the collection of the tax in 2016 and 2017.
There was also unanimous agreement on requesting the government to initiate, within a fortnight, a multi-lingual campaign to explain the destination of tourist tax revenue.
Speaking to the motion, Antoni Reus of Més observed that the PP had gone from criticising the tourist tax to criticising the fact that it wasn't being spent quickly enough. He suggested that the PP had not "dared" to include what had been its real intention in the motion, which was the elimination of the APB. Reus also attacked the C's by saying that the law governing the tax requires the giving of "general information" about spending and not the detail that the C's were demanding.
Bel Oliver of PSOE argued that the government has been managing the tourist tax "rigorously". She accepted that things could perhaps be done "more quickly" but that they would not be done "any more scrupulously" than they are.
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